Summertime

I always say that I love each season as it comes, and I do! They’re all my favourite when I’m enjoying them. And right now, I’m in love with Summer.

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There’s been lots of barbequing, watering and weeding in the gardens, riding on the trail, and just generally enjoying being outside in the warmth and the green. Flowers have been blooming, lavender, a second round for the fuschias, hibiscus, and now the portulaca has begun to flower its many different coloured blooms. The strawberry plants are sending out shoots for new strawberry babies (which I think is telling me I need to plan a strawberry bed).

It’s so easy and peaceful outside right now. Sure, it may get a little overly-hot now and then, but that’s what a shaded deck and cold iced tea (or beer) is for!

I know I’ve mentioned my favourite place in the world, Kincardine, before, and we finally got out there yesterday to enjoy the beach. That place calls to me, and once it’s possible, I know we’ll be moving there. There’s nowhere else I’d really rather live. London was good, very tree-dense for an Ontarian city! There are plenty of different kinds of food to be had too. Vancouver was gorgeous, feeling like a small town with how many trees there are, and space between houses. The enormous, fantastic-smelling cedars, and the mountains, they are something I really do miss (not to mention the people <3). Moncton, I could really care less about. I was born and raised for a while there, but meh. I never found it appealing, to be honest. I could totally live in Nova Scotia or PEI, but not New Brunswick so much, unless on the coast.

But Kincardine. My love. I told my husband-man that I’m married to Kincardine. That when we move there, it’ll have as much priority as him, lol. In a sense, I’m probably not wrong about it though. It’s a place I actually want to go out into town and walk around. I feel safe there, and people are incredibly friendly (a woman yesterday sung happy birthday to my mom because she heard my dad say so at the DQ counter; I asked mom if they had known the woman when we lived there… nope!).
What I think also helps is that the town celebrates it’s Scottish heritage, which translates often to the old importance of hospitality. I find that’s something that isn’t really emphasised in North American places where there is not any sort of specific culture (even a North American culture). Plus I’m in love with all the Celtic culture that’s celebrated there. There’s a Celtic festival every summer, Highland dancers, Celtic musicians, and Scottish Games. And a bag-pipe band every Saturday in the summer.

The husband-man also asked if perhaps I was a selkie from around Kincardine. I said there may be different kinds of unseelie creatures there, from long before the Scots came to occupy that bit of land… but I wouldn’t put it out of mind that perhaps a selkie or few had come over and made their home there.

I don’t think I’m kidding when I say I’m in love with Kincardine.

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But besides all that being in love with a place, enjoying the summer with my gardens and trails around here has been good. I collected my first garden haul with my niece, so we’ve got snap peas, yellow wax beans, raspberries, three kinds of basil, rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme. The herbs will be drying, later harvests of basil will be made into pesto, and the rosemary thyme and sage into a healing salve with some plantain. But this little batch will be dried for spicing food.

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So as for the shop, there has been frustration with Canada Post and the Postal Workers’ Union being wishy washy about whether or not they’re going to have a service disruption. Looks like they won’t let that come to pass, so that’s good!
I have some tea ideas to be working on, and reworking some older recipes that need a quick update to my current tea making system. AAAAAAND… a very SEKRIT PROJECT! This is unlike what I’ve done before, and I am so excited about it, I. CANNOT. EVEN. 😀

And so, dear gentle reader, I hope you are enjoying your season, whether it’s summer or winter, and I offer many blessings of the wilds and waters.

Mia

She Moved Through The Fair

What’s this? I’ve sung again? I thought I’d sing a love song, and since it’s the season of the Dead, it’s a sad one.

I thought I’d do a song before I begin NaNoWriMo on Friday. What’s NaNoWriMo? If you don’t know already, It’s National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been itching to write a story or two for some time now, and I’m feeling pushed. Writing has never been my thing, I have some pretty great ideas for stories, but I am a singer, my creativity has always come out best that way.

However, with all the hoo-haa of this year, lots of things have been changing or coming to light for me. That, and it’s a bit of a dedication to my Lady, considering what the topic is and all. I may or may not try to do something with it after I go back and edit and whatnot, but who knows!?

So if you are Wrimo-ing this year, add me as a writing buddy! I’m under the same name there, Miaerowyn.

 

While things have been quiet around here for a little while (for reasons), they will continue to be so during November while I furiously type away. I may or may not write about what’s been going on, I haven’t decided yet. Suffice it to say, this past year has had me deep in Shadow work. Most of the time I’m ok with the fact that I’ve been in darkness, just because I know eventually I will be able to really appreciate the happy times more, that I will be stronger, and more focused. I also know there’s a lot of learning and work in this, but that definitely does not make it any easier. I suppose after Who came to me last year, I’m not surprised everything has changed.
I’ll leave it at that for now, I’ve got a curry dinner to make. Hope all is well for you out there, this season.

Hail to those who have passed this year, Hail to the Ancestors, and Hail to the Gods!

The Month of the Willow

Salix_alba_Morton

Latin Name
Salix babylonica (Weeping Willow), Salix alba (White Willow)

Celtic Name
Saille (sail-yeh)

Common Names
Willow, Tree of Enchantment, Sough Tree, Pussy Willow, Witches’ Tree, Tarvos Tree, Sally, Saille, Withy, Withe, Aspirin, Witches’ Aspirin, Osier, Salicyn Willow

Dates
April 15 – May 12

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Parts Used
Bark, wood, twigs, branches, sap

Medicinal Uses
The bark and leaves of the willow has long been used for pain relief as it contains salicin, which the body turns into salicylic acid, which was isolated and synthesized in order to create the pain relieving aspirin many people use today.
Because the bark is quite astringent, it can be used as a diuretic, to ease rheumatic conditions, and combat heartburn.
The sap gathered from a flowering tree aids in skin blemishes and dandruff problems.

Constituents
Phenolic glycosides (which include salicin, salicortin, salireposide, tremulacin), tannins, flavonoids, catechins.

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Associations
Water, Moon, silver, Hekate, Athena, Artemis, Demeter, Persephone, Hera, Mercury, Circe, Orpheus, Selene, Luna, Brigid, Cerridwen, Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Audhumla (the great Cow in Norse mythology), Hel, Idunna, Loki, Nanna, Nerthus, Ran, Sif, Sigyn, Sjofna, Skadi, the Feyfolk, moonstone, hawk, snowy owl, Beltaine

Magical Properties
Dark moon magic, magic associated with water: creativity, emotion, love, divination, female energies/rights of passage, inspiration, binding, protection, healing, death, wishes, peace, joy.

When willow is placed in a home, it protects against malicious energies/witchcraft, and evil; if a willow is grown near your home, it protects it. The tree is also welcome in graveyards.

If you carry a bit of willow in your pocket (a twig or the like), it will bring you courage and help you to overcome the fear of death.

You can tell your biggest secrets to a willow tree, as it will trap the secret inside itself.

They will also grant your wishes, if you ask properly.

Willow and sandalwood burned together during the waning phase of the moon encourages spirits to more easily be conjured.

In love magic, the leaves are commonly used, as well as to forge friendships, alliances, pacts, and loyalty. If you’ve been spurned by your lover, wear a willow charm, and they should find their way back to you. At the end of the year, to discover whether you’ll be married in the new year, throw your shoe up into the willow’s branches:
”Throw your shoe high up
into the branches of a Willow tree;
If the branches catch and hold the shoe,
you soon will married be.”

 

Month of Elder

Celtic Name: Ruis (roo-ish)

Latin Name: Sambucus canadenis (for elderberry)

Folk Names: Eldrun, Lady Elder, Ellhorn, Sambucus, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Pipe Tree, Bore Tree, Bour Tree

Dates:November 25 – December 23

Parts Used: bark, flowers, leaves, berries

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of Elder has been used as a purgative when ingested. If ingested in large doses, it is used as an emetic. It has also been long used as a diuretic, and in aiding in renal and cardiac edema (when there is too much water content held between the cells or in body cavities). Ointments made of the green bark will aid with asthma symptoms and croup in young children.
The leaves can be used to make an ointment, “Unguentum Sambuci Viride”, or Green Elder Ointment, which is to be used on bruises, wounds, sprains, inflammation (especially to the hands and feet if exposed to cold and moisture, and as a soothing emollient.
The flowers can be used in a wide array of manners. Elder Flower Water is used as the foundation to eye and skin lotions as it has a mild astringent and stimulant properties. It has been used after sun bathing, and to get rid of freckles as it keeps the skin free from blemishes and fair. The flowers were also employed in bronchial and lung related illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever.Taken as a tea, it helps to bring on sweating and restful sleep to help one who is sick with a cold or flu to quickly get on the road to recovery.
Wine of the berries was used to aid in erysipelas (a deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes) and rheumatism. A tea made with the dried berries helps to ease diarrhea and colic.

Magical Uses:
General usages of Elder include: prosperity, luck, protection, healing, cleansing, spirituality, sleep, exorcism, Faery magic, and offerings. Wine made of the berries is considered to be a great aid in divination, prophecy and hallucinations. Twigs would be placed in head dresses to allow the seeing of spirits. It is used when one wishes to perform magic involving the Fae or Nature.
Elder has very strong protective qualities as well. If twigs are worn around the neck in a small bag, it is said they will protect from physical or psychic attack. Branches are hung in doorways to keep evil out. To bless someone or something, take the leaves and berries in hand and scatter them to the four directions, then over the person or thing.
Remember when you harvest of any tree or plant, give something in return. It can be an offering, water if the weather is dry, or even cleaning up any trash that has been left around it.

The Month of The Vine

Image from Wikipedia

Celtic Name: Muin

Latin Name: Vitis (along with another name depending on the variety)

Dates: September 2-29

Parts Used: Grapes, leaves, wood, juice, seeds.

Medicinal Qualities:
Grape sugar is different from other sugars chemically; it doesn’t need the saliva to enter circulation within the body. This means that there is a fattening and warming action that aids with restoring energy and repair after the effects of fevers have taken hold, however, this action is not suitable for gout or inflammation.
Grapes in the diet also aid in anemia when eaten daily.

The leaves and seeds are an astringent. The leaves were used previously to stop bleeding and hemorrhaging. The leaves are used today dried and powdered and used on cattle to cure dysentery.

Image from Botanical.com

Magickal Qualities:
As the month the vine presides over (September) is a time of harvest, it makes sense that the vine is worked with in magic for harvesting, whether it is physical or spiritual. It has both masculine and feminine qualities. You can work with the vine for magics of joy, faerie workings, excitement, spiritual initiations, sacred knowledge, rebirth.
It increases fertility: placing a wreath above your bed aids in becoming pregnant, and on your child’s first birthday, hanging vines around the house ensures a long, fruitful life.
It is a wonderful tree to work with for all sorts of fertility, abundance, prosperity, money, happiness, and a sense of ease in life.
We musn’t forget that grapes are turned into wonderful, delicious wine. Wine is used to aid in connecting to the Otherworld, breaking down the barriers our minds put up around us. Though, each person reacts differently to different mind-altering substances, so it may work well for one, but not another. Wine is used to celebrate, to lose ourselves to revelry and our more primal selves concerned with our own happiness and pleasure.

Image from Wikipedia

 

Month of the Rowan



Celtic Name
LuisLatin Name
Sorbus Aucuparia

Dates
January 21 – February 17

Parts Used
Berries, bark

Medicinal Qualities
The  bark of the Rowan, as well as most other tree’s bark, has astringent and tannic properties. The bark would be used in a decoction as a blood cleanser, to treat diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

The berries are high in vitamin C, and were used to fight scurvy. The berries were made into jams and jellies; teas for diarrhea, hemorrhoids and urinary tract conditions as the berries have diuretic properties; a gargle of the fresh berry juice aids with inflamed mucous membranes

*Please note that before consuming the berries, they must be cooked as they contain parasorbic acid, a cancer causing compound.

Magical Properties
Associated with masculinity, Mars, fire, Imbolc, Brighid.

Used in protection spells, especially against fire and lightning. It was hung around dog’s necks for increased speed, hung in homes to protect against charms of fire, and protection against fires. The Rowan also has the powers to protect humans and animals alike against baneful spirits. It is also used in healing of the body. Equal armed crosses of Rowan are carried for protection against harm and wands placed above doorways for luck and good fortune.
The trees were planted in churchyards to watch over the dead. Because of the five pointed star you see when you slice a berry in half, it is believed that the tree has the ability to protect against witchery, trickery and enchantment. The tree is also said to bring about more strength through courage.

Month of the Holly


We are now enjoying the month of the Holly, Tinne, from the 8th of July to the 4th of August. Awesomely enough, the new place we are living in has a nice Holly tree in the front yard! They are beautiful trees to say the least and hold a lot of mythological and magical history.

Latin Name:
Ilex aquifolium (English Holly)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)

Parts Used:
Bark, berries, leaves

Herbal Usages:
Holly leaves have been used in infusions as a diaphoretic (induces perspiration) for fevers. The juice of the leaves also aids in jaundice.

The berries are a very strong emetic and purgative, and therefor should not be ingested unless vomiting is needed. In which case, only a few should be taken.
The berries in powder form is also used as an astringent for swelling and to check bleeding.

Associations:
Fire; Holly King; spear; Odin; Mars; Ares; feminine; life, death and rebirth; dark half of the year.

Magic(k)al Workings:
An incredible protective wood, it is used to ward off negative energies, evil spirits, poisons, angry elementals and lightning. It is also used in dream magic(k), placing a piece of holly under your pillow is said to bring prophetic dreams. It works very well in fertility magic(k) too.

It is very useful in magic(k)s that overthrow the old to bring in the new; to bring success to a new stage of development; and when seeking for a successful business endeavour.


Month of the Oak

The Oak has always been one of my favourite trees. Just looking at pictures of one from afar gives me a sense of wonder and simple, homely countrysides. From June 10 to July 7 is the Celtic month of Duir, the Oak. Oak is the seventh moon of the Celtic calendar as well.

Latin Name:
Quercus alba (White Oak)

Parts Used:
Bark, wood, leaves, acorns

Herbal Usages:
Oak is well known for its astringent and antiseptic properties and has been used as a tonic for a long time. Bark can be made into a tea to heal hemorrhoids.
When given with chamomile flowers, it helps eases intermittent fevers.
Very useful when there are chronic diarrhea and dysentery problems, a decoction of 1 oz of Oak bark in 1 quart water, boiled down to a pint and drank in wine glass size portions will aid the bowels.
This decoction is also used externally as a gargle to help sore throats, and as a fomentation (warm or hot liquids that are applied to the body to ease pain; like a poultice). Can also be injected for leukorrhea, and applied to bleeding gums, or hemorrhoids.
Acorns can also be peeled and be used to make potions to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.

Associations:
The word “Duir” comes from the Sanskrit “Dwr” which means “Door”. It is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman.
Fire; Sun;
wren, black, white carnelian; moonstone; Yule fires; Yule log; Brighid; The Dagda; Dianus; Janus; Cybele; Rhea; Pan; Erato; Hecate; Zeus; Jupiter; Thor; Perkunas; lightning; thunder; the Wild Hunt; King Arthur’s round table.

Magic(k)al Workings
As the month of Duir has the summer solstice in it, the Oak is a powerful symbol of midsummer.
Money, success, strength, fertility, stability, health, healing, potency and good luck. Different types of Oak will lend slightly different properties to magic(k)al workings. Red Oak is fiery, White Oak is for solidity and strength, Brown Oak is earthy and is used for grounding.
Acorns can be used to attract someone of the opposite sex, used for divinatory powers, and to attract prosperity and wealth.
Oak is known as the “King of the Grove”; a holy tree; the lord of truth and is one of the three  sacred trees “Oak, Ash & Thorn”. Worship of the Oak may stem from the early nomadic Europeans using acorns for food.
The acorn is seen as the representation of the supreme form of fertility and creativity of the mind; as such, they are used to increase fertility of both projects and ideas and human reproduction, and also ease pain.
Because of its ties to immortality symbolism, acorns are sacred to the Samhain season and are often used in fall decorating.
It is said that the voice of Jupiter can be heard in the rustling of the leaves. At midsummer, the future can be divined by listening to the wind in the leaves. Acorns should be planted during the Dark moon to attract prosperity.
It is a very powerful herb for protection; England is said to be protected by the Oak when using its timbers to build their ships. It is also used as a boundary for its protective qualities. Acorns placed in windows will ward off lightning and beings that would scare us at night; they will also attract luck. Acorns can be born in pockets to ward off storms, to prevent the bearer from getting lost, and protect from evil intent. They are also carried as charms for immortality, longevity, fertility, ward off illness and preserve youthfulness. Three acorns can be made into a charm to attract youthfulness, attainment, and beauty in life. This charm should be bound with the maker’s hair, and blessed at every Full and Dark moon of a year, and then worn.
A leaf worn on the neck and next to the heart will allow the wearer to not be deceived by the world at large.
A few leaves in bath water will cleanse body and spirit. If you catch a falling leaf, it is said you will not be sick for the winter. If a sick person is in your house, light a fire of Oak wood to draw out the illness.
Because the Oak is a male tree, athames,  and certain male-aspect wands and staffs should be made of its wood. The wood is also used to make religious idols.
The Waning moon is the right time to harvest Oak, during the day for Acorns, and at night for the leaves and wood. Offer wine to the Oak’s roots as thanks for allowing you to take a part of him.

Month of the Hawthorn

It is coming to the end of the Celtic month of Huath, the Hawthorn. In the Celtic calendar, there are thirteen months, each month with a presiding tree. Between May 13, and June 9, the Hawthorn’s energies encourage us to clear away bad habits, and the cobwebs that collect in our spirituality.

Latin Name:
crataegus oxyacantha

Parts Used:
wood, branches, berries, seeds, flowers, leaves

Herbal Usages:
The berries are used in cardiac tonics for organic (the heart is inflamed or deformed) and functional (the heart does not act as it should) heart troubles.
A tea made from the leaves and blossoms aids in anxiety, poor circulation, and appetite  loss. The tea made of only the leaves can act as substitute for oriental green tea.
The seeds can be roasted and used like coffee.
The flowers and berries are astringent so can be used to make a decoction (mashing, then boiling herbs to extract their chemical substances).

Associations:
Night Crow; black; Lapis Lazuli; masculine; Mars; fire; Beltane; sacred to the Fairies; guardians of wishing wells in Ireland; one of nine woods placed on the Balefire

Magickal Workings:
As stated above, a good month to clear yourself of the negative and stagnant. It’s a inner-self spring cleaning month.
Used for protection, love and marriage, health and prosperity, fertility, chastity, purification, inner journeys, purity, fishing magic(k), male potency, intuition, happiness, cleansing and female sexuality.
It is one of the tree Fairy triad of Britain. If you see Hawthorn, Oak and Ash growing together, you may see Fairies. You should also never cut a blooming Hawthorn, as it is said that it may make the Fairies angry. It is also said that if you sit under a Hawthorn tree in the month of May, you may be lost forever to the mysterious Fairy world.
Still today in Ireland and Wales, people create braided crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them for the Fairies to dance around at night. The crafter of the crown will then be blessed.
For men, the blossom has a strong smell of female sexuality, and has therefore been used in talismans of fertility and sexuality.
Hawthorn is also used in flying ointments.

Early Beltane morning, a lady wishing to remain beautiful for the rest of the year should go to a Hawthorn tree and bathe in its dew while chanting the following:

The fair maid, who on the first of May,
Goes to the fields at the break of day

And bathes in the dew of the Hawthorn tree,
Will ever strong and handsome be.”

Because of its strong ties to witchcraft, it is a favourite tree of us witchy peoples to use for brooms (besoms) and wands. When you want to take wood from a Hawthorn tree, it is best to do on Beltane (May 1), as taking any other day is bad luck. Also, picking Hawthorn’s flowers before the first week of May also brings horrible luck, “a sign that death is on its way if brought into the house.”

Taurus & Happy Birthday to Me!

 

Taurus - Olga Kostenko

Taurus – Olga Kostenko


Well, folks, today is the day that I have completed 23 turns around the sun. I am quite optimistic for the coming year! Not only will I finally be going to school for singing (operatic of course!), the man and I will be moving out to British Columbia for me to do it! It is quite an exciting time indeed! 🙂

Alright, so what I thought I would write about today, is the Zodiac sign of Taurus!

Taurus

Dates: April 20-May 20

Animal: The Bull

Element: Earth

Planet: Venus

Associated Body Parts: The throat, voice, vocal chords

Bull Gods:
Dionysus (Greek), Apis (Egyptian), Tarvos Trigaranus (Celtic/Gaulish), Moloch (Canaan/Modern day Isreal, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and parts of Jordan, Syria and Northeastern Egypt)

Characteristics of a Taurean:
Steadfast, stubborn, stable, grounded, enjoys the finer things in life, loves the arts and anything of beauty, attraction to material things for their beauty and what they offer the senses.